Sherrard Point is a great place for a day hike in the Columbia Gorge as well as for binocular or naked eye viewing! Astrophotography is also a possibility here, but note that gear has to be carried in. Moreover, snow has the road closed for the majority of the year, so check with the US Forest Service before heading out. Alternatives that are close are the Vista House, Rooster Rock State Park, and Multnomah Falls.
This one is a real hidden gem, but one has to be careful for a multitude of reasons. The first relates to the gear that one can bring as the hike to where the platform is located is .6 of a mile each way. This means that one is really limited to what they can carry, which would most likely be a small telescope or photography gear. The second reason to be careful is that one MUST bring a working head lamp or other light sources as a minimum!! A description of the hike can be found here: https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Sherrard_Point_Hike
As the city of Portland and surrounding areas have grown in population in recent years, this has meant that light pollution has stayed stable in the Yellow Zone of the Bortle Scale. On the official Bortle Scale, that would equate to a 4.5, which means that it would be hard to find the Milky Way as it would be washed out by the surrounding city of Portland lights.
- How far outside of Portland? 40 miles, ~1 hour drive
- Google Maps Location
- # of spots: 20-30
- Cost For Parking: $5
- Parking Permit(s) Required: US National Forest Pass
- Where Permit(s) Can Be Obtained: REI or other outdoor stores or Forest Service Ranger Districts
There are no overnight accommodations at this location. The closest overnight accommodations would be Ainsworth State Park.
Current Seeing Conditions/Forecasts
The chart above is courtesy of ClearDarkSky.com and the chart below is courtesy of Clearoutside.com